Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Scottish Independence Marked by new Miniature Sheet 6 April 2020

The first independence of Scotland was declared by Pope John XXII in response to an approach by the barons and freeholders of Scotland who asked him to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.  The Declaration of Arbroath, dated 6th April 1320, is one of the most significant documents in Scotland’s history.


The Declaration was then taken to the papal court at Avignon by Bishop Kininmund, Sir Adam Gordon and Sir Odard de Maubuisson. The plea was successful and Scotland’s independence was eventually acknowledged eight years later by Papal Bull.

To commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arborath, Royal Mail will issue a special commemorative miniature sheet containing all 4 Scottish Country Definitive stamps for 2020. The background to the miniature sheet depicts the surviving Declaration itself and the 39 seals of the 8 earls and 31 barons who authenticated it although it is thought likely that at least 11 more seals than the original 39 might have been appended.

In 1970 The General Post Office included the Declaration's 650th anniversary in the General Anniversaries issue, a stamp designed by prolific stamp designer Fritz Wegner.  This time for the widely celebrated 700th anniversary, Royal Mail have fallen back on the overused format of a miniature sheet containing all four Scotland country definitives. If that is unimaginative, at least somebody has used their imagination on the background design, rather than using an image of the actual declaration as shown on wikipedia.


Technical Details
The sheet was designed by Scottish design company Tayburn and is printed by ISP in litho, with PVA gum.  The sheet is 123 x 70 mm, with stamps the standard definitive size of 20 x 24 mm.

The stamps are the new values, so 2nd class, 1st class, £1.42 and £1.63.


Royal Mail regard this as a commemorative issue, rather than a new issue.  Readers may know that dealers are able to purchase FDCs with stamps already affixed, but Royal Mail have said that this service is not available to us for this issue.  The cover is available (serviced product code AW141 for £6; blank: ME144 for 30p) from Royal Mail's bureau.  The Bureau's customers may find that their standing orders do not cover this sheet.
Update, from comments (Thanks Chris):
Information printed on the bottom of the New Definitive 2020 Order Advice Note sent to Philatelic Customers states that if you have Miniature Sheets on your regular order then you will receive this automatically. But the FDC containing the miniature sheet is a mail order item only, so you will not receive it as part of your regular order. A separate order has to be placed.


Here's a couple they made earlier
Previously Royal Mail used a similar format for the opening of the Scottish Parliament Building in 2004, and the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns in 2009, a sheet also designed by Tayburn and which also contained to special Burns stamps to increase the overall cost to make it more economical for Royal Mail to handle.




5 comments:

  1. Hello can I buy the MiniSheet in a post office that is not in Scotland Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In theory they should be available, or should be able to be ordered, by any PO where you normally buy special stamps.

      However, some offices may not keep them for long before returning to central stores, because of lack of interest,

      Delete
  2. This miniature sheet is not very inspired! It is almost as if the designer could not be bothered! It makes the stamp from 1970 look quite good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Information printed on the bottom of the New Definitive 2020 Order Advice Note sent to Philatelic Customers states that if you have Miniature Sheets on your regular order then you will receive this automatically. But the FDC containing the miniature sheet is a mail order item only, so you will not receive it as part of your regular order. A separate order has to be placed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just received my order advice note for the Romantic Poets issue, nice to have to pay below £10 instead of £25 +, only £8.05 inc postage.

    ReplyDelete

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